The killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in May brought out the dark underbelly of the British psyche. The murder of the serving soldier by a UK-born adherent of extremist Islamism revealed inherent deep-seated prejudices running through the fabric of the UK. It re-invigorated a dying far right street movement – The English Defence League – who were able to put a reported 1,000+ supporters onto the streets of Newcastle.
The English Defence League is a pressure group which purports to peacefully protest against the ‘Islamification’ of the United Kingdom. In reality its supporters range from disenfranchised members of the white working class through to seasoned dedicated racists – Nationalists who are veterans of groups such as the National Front and British National Party – and it holds the entire Islamic community responsible for the actions of an extreme, ultra-conservative minority.
Nationalist politics ultimately seeks purity of ethnicity within a nation and in its more extreme forms rejects democratic discourse and leads to the extermination of people based on their race, sexuality or political views. Nationalist groups in the UK have traditionally supported policies such as apartheid in South Africa and opposed workers’ movements such as trades unionism. They offer nothing positive to the working class and actively work against the working class’s attempts at self emancipation.
Equally, extreme Islamism seeks the formation of societies based on ultra socially conservative values. In its worst forms it rejects democratic discourse and aims to impose a strict interpretation of Islam which includes oppression of women, homosexuals and non believers. Many Islamic scholars utterly reject this interpretation of Islam and are opposed to a marriage of their religion with politics. Indeed, the murder of Lee Rigby was an expression of political impotence by an extreme Islamist, frustrated that the majority of Muslims have rejected Radical Islamist ideals and attempting to attract support by appealing to anti-war sentiments among Muslims.
Nationalism and Radical Islamism are two sides of the same coin. We urge the working class to reject both of these ideologies and stand united against both the Nationalist and Islamist threats.